08/02/2017 3:16PM

Illinois racetracks request 2018 dates similar to current schedule

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Illinois racetracks on Monday submitted applications to the Illinois Racing Board for 2018 race dates, and the requested schedule looks similar to the 2017 racing calendar.

Hawthorne, which applied for 55 Thoroughbred days, did request to start its 2018 spring meet on March 23, about three weeks later than this year. Since Hawthorne raced only two-day weeks in March, that is a loss of only six race days, and the break gives the track more time to convert its surface after a winter Standardbred meet ends March 2.

Arlington, if the dates applications are approved as requested, would once again be the winter dark-host track from Jan. 2 through early March, as was the case this year. A so-called host track derives more revenue from interstate simulcast handle than other Illinois tracks during a designated period.

Arlington requested a 71-day meet, with live racing starting May 4 and ending Sept. 30. There would be two race cards during each of the first two weeks, followed by three-card weeks through the end of June, four-card weeks in July and August, and three-card weeks again in September.

Thoroughbred racing would return to Hawthorne in a meet that begins in early October and runs through the end of December.

The 2018 racing schedule will be determined at an IRB meeting on Sept. 26 in Chicago.